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Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian Rights Activists Awarded Nobel Peace Prize – Jake Johnson

A jailed Belarusian activist, a shuttered Russian human rights organization, and a Ukrainian civil society group were awarded the Nobel Peace Price on Friday for their efforts to “document war crimes” and “protect the fundamental rights of citizens.”

“By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2022 to Ales Bialiatski, Memorial, and the Center for Civil Liberties, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honor three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy, and peaceful co-existence in the neighbor countries Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement.

“Through their consistent efforts in favor of humanist values, anti-militarism, and principles of law,” the committee added, “this year’s laureates have revitalized and honored Alfred Nobel’s vision of peace and fraternity between nations—a vision most needed in the world today.”

The award announcement came as Russia’s war on Ukraine continues to rage with no diplomatic resolution in sight, intensifying fears of a nuclear disaster.

On social media, the Nobel committee praised Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties for taking “a stand to strengthen Ukrainian civil society and pressure the authorities to make Ukraine a full-fledged democracy.”

“After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the center has engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian population,” the committee said. “The center is playing a pioneering role in holding guilty parties accountable for their crimes.”

As for Memorial, a Russian organization that the country’s Supreme Court ordered shut down last year, it has “been standing at the forefront of efforts to combat militarism and promote human rights and government based on rule of law,” the Nobel panel said. The group’s leaders have vowed to continue their work despite Moscow’s crackdown.

Bialiatski, the other Nobel Peace Price winner, is currently imprisoned in Belarus on tax evasion charges that critics say are fabricated. Bialiatski has not received a trial.

“He has devoted his life to promoting democracy and peaceful development in his home country,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said Friday.